Industrial parks: a little-known tool that seeks to leverage Uruguayan SMEs

According to Uruguay XXI, industrial parks “play a key role” in promoting the growth of the sector. In this sense, the institute attributes “sustained growth” in recent years that they hope to enhance in the future.

“The industrial park It is a space where companies from different areas come together, something that is very valuable” for the development of the economysaid the coordinator of the Industrial Extension Center (CEI), Gabriel Herrera, in dialogue with Coffee & Business.

According to the latest report on the subject –prepared in July 2021 by Uruguay XXI– eight industrial parks operate in the country and there are three others that were approved and are in the process of being installed. Is about industrial poles where companies that do not necessarily operate in the same area are located.

Along these lines, Herrera points out that within a park “a interconnection very valuable among organizations, a synergy that includes its employers and workers” and exemplified: “Within the same pole, a plastics company, another metallurgical company and another food company can work”; where the metallurgical company can solve an operational problem for the food company, which, in turn, receives the containers for its products from the plastics company.

Without going any further, in the Paysandu Industrial Park seven companies operate. Among these is, for example, a tannery waste reprocessor (Liberkal SA) together with a factory of different types of construction materials (AC Constructora) and a solar panel factory (Isleryl SA).

Another example is the Cerro Technological and Industrial Park, approved in 2014, where 70 companies from various fields operate, ranging from activities related to the environment to food, textiles and metallurgical. Another pole is the Uruguay Productive Park, located on the outskirts of the city of Suárez (Canelones), which received an investment of US$ 3.1 million for its installation on a 150-hectare site.

The path followed by industrial parks in Uruguay is not new. In fact, it was during the government of Jorge Batlle that Law 17,547 was enacted in order to provide incentives companies that will settle in these poles. Later, in the second administration of Tabaré Vázquez, these policies were deepened with the sanction of Law 19,784, whose objective was to promote and develop industrial parks and scientific-technological parks.

One of the neuralgic points of this regulation was the tax and infrastructure benefits for small and medium enterprises let them settle there. “Operation and installation costs for companies with between 5 and 99 employees are a wall when it comes to starting to operate,” explained Herrera.

In this sense, the Uruguay XXI report maintains that companies that operate in an industrial park “share costs input, such as electricity, water, physical infrastructure (such as roads, common lighting, effluent treatment), internet, cleaning, waste disposal or surveillance.

In addition, the tax benefits for organizations that settle there “increase the tax benefits granted by the Investor Promotion Law and specific tax credits,” the report adds. Some of these are the IRAE exemptionthe granting of credits for employer contributions and the award of a special rate by UTE for the installer and/or the user of the wind farms.

“I believe that industrial or science parks are a significant engine in the technological development and competitiveness that Uruguay is seeking to develop,” added the CEI coordinator on the importance of measures aimed at Uruguayan SMEs located at these poles.

On the other hand, Herrera pointed out that “another of the fundamental contributions of industrial or technological parks is their commitment to communities where they work.

In this sense, he highlighted, for example, the role that the UTU (Uruguayan Labor University) plays in the Juan Lacaze Industrial Park, located in the Colonial city of almost 13,000 inhabitants. In this case, the agreement that unites the industrial zone with the educational institution, called “educational-industrial circuit”develops different internships, companies are incubated and opportunities are generated for students to get their “first job”.

For Herrera, “industrial parks can be a shoulder on which Uruguay leans for its development, but it is not enough just to generate the space and leave it, since it does not regulate itself”. This is why they need “visualization and public policy supportin order to identify the needs of companies”.

In addition to the Paysandú Industrial Park and the Juan Lacaze Industrial Park, the Alto Uruguay Agroindustrial Park (Salto) currently operates in the country; Route 5 Logistics Pole, Uruguay Productive Park, Pando Industrial Park/ Pando Scientific-Technological Park, Plaza Industrial SA (Canelones) and the Cerro Industrial Technological Park (Montevideo).

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